British engineers are bidding to join the ranks of doctors by ditching their Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms titles in favour of a legally-enforceable new title: Eng.
The surprise move revealed exclusively in The Engineer is being driven at the highest level within the engineering profession, and could gain approval by the autumn of this year.
The title would extend to more than 228,000 chartered and incorporated engineers, and would be enforceable by law to prevent unregistered engineers using it.
Those eligible would be free to use it in place of any other title, though it would be followed in a professional context by registration terms such as CEng or IEng.
The decision to introduce a specific engineering title will bring British engineers closer in line with their German colleagues, for whom the title Ing has long been regarded as the mark of a highly respected profession.
But it is also the first move in a bid to heal the perceived rift between chartered engineers (predominantly graduates) and incorporated engineers (mainly non-graduates), because both will be able to adopt the Eng title. This is understood to be an incentive to attract students to new degree courses being planned leading to Incorporated Engineer status.
Robin Wilson, chairman of the Engineering Council’s Board for Engineers’ Regulation confirmed that the initiative was under way.
’It is true. We are doing this,’ he said. ’But everything is up for discussion. We now hope the institutions will give it their backing.’
No firm decision has been made on Eng as the eventual title, though this is said to be the most likely choice.
Legal protection for the title can be written into the terms of the engineers’ charter, and would not require parliamentary approval.
Consultation between the Engineering Council and the professional institutions is understood to be imminent, with a debate in the Engineering Council Senate scheduled for 22 May.
A decision on the issue is likely in the autumn.
A pan-European initiative in 1990 launched a Eur Ing title, available for a fee to British chartered engineers. It attracted only 12,000 of the 170,000 engineers eligible.
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